I am sometimes asked to recommend resources for students of poetry and for poets looking to hone their craft (or pull out of a rut). Collected here are just some of the books and links that I have found particularly helpful over the years for myself and my students.
“Advice for Beginning Poets” from Wesley McNair’s Mapping the Heart: Reflections on Place and Poetry
The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser
Creating Poetry by John Drury
Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio
Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry by Jane Hirshfield
The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo
Claims for Poetry, Donald Hall, ed.
A Field Guide to Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Friebert et al., eds.
The Art of series by Graywolf Press:
The Art of Description by Mark Doty
The Art of the Poetic Line by James Longenbach
The Art of Attention by Donald Revell
The Art of Syntax by Ellen Bryant Voigt
Structure and Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns, Michael Thuene, ed.
Leaping Poetry by Robert Bly
The Practice of Poetry, Behn and Twichell, eds.
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp (exercises for artists in all genres)
General Writing Advice:
Writing With Power, Peter Elbow
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Poetry Anthologies, etc.:
The Oxford Book of American Poetry, David Lehman, ed.
The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry (two volumes), Jahan Ramazani et al., eds.
The Book of Luminous Things, Czeslaw Milosz, ed.
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
www.poets.org (Academy of American Poets)
As always, the best education for a poet at any level is to consume poetry widely – in journals, books, online, and at readings. To write poetry, one must also read and listen to it.
Image: Learn, Learn, Learn by Evgeni Katsman